AFC Wimbledon 2 Crawley Town 1

The two likely outcomes to a much anticipated Dons game;

(i) The Dons huff and puff, have an arguably better opening period but eventually succumb to self inflicted pressure.

(ii) Dons win. It’s the greatest night ever.

We don’t get that many (ii)’s. For much of the second half it looked as though we were heading down a well worn path. Much the better side in the first period, they lost concentration just before half time and found it difficult to regain momentum at the start of the second. Our young side were being asked to dig in, and didn’t look as though they would respond.

To be honest though, I was amazed we got a football match to start with. I turned up, got my free WUP and brown paper bag and prepared myself for an evening of Evans-bashing. I had worried earlier in the day that our fun and games might be ruined by twenty two idiots kicking a ball around and getting in the way. In fact, by the time the teams got onto the pitch the Crawley fraudster was all but forgotten, able to sneak across the field almost unnoticed. And for those who did spot him, well, maybe those brown paper bags didn’t stand out as well as we thought under floodlights…

The larger than normal crowd were supplemented by the expected Crawley contingent of rent-a-fans… it was just like hosting Bromley, without the ‘HIV Wimbledon’ chants, but with plenty of reminders as to who was top of the league (something that came back to haunt them later in the evening…). This type of moneyed trash has followed us up the leagues in various forms, no one incarnation standing the test of time. When the money runs out we will eventually leave them behind, we know it’s going to happen – whether it’s in ten years, two years or tomorrow, the Crawley bubble will burst. When we leave the Non-League scene will we leave clubs like this behind for good, teams elevated above their natural status by large short term cash injections? Either way, it’s never nice to lose to this type of outfit, as we found out in our first season when we lost 0-2 at home to Withdean 2000 (who eventually bypassed their self imposed expiry date a lot sooner than we imagined…).

When the chances fell in the first half, they fell to Ed Harris. Beyond these misses, and a mistake for the Crawley goal, Harris and Franks were immense at the back. Truly beyond what you would expect for a second choice central pairing in this division (especially one so young), although if Johnson and Yakubu aren’t careful they may not be second choice for too much longer after performances like this. To be fair, I missed the Harris mistake because the stanchion in the Kingston Road End goal got in the way…

By the way, the atmosphere in the stadium seemed pretty impressive, although I couldn’t really tell as the noise in the KRE was pretty good in itself… I mean I purposely chose to stand in the noisier part of the terrace so I could join in (I so rarely sing at home these days, but felt it was my duty…), maybe our noise drowned out a louder general atmosphere in a stadium where noise is difficult to generate… the Tempest in full voice normally sounds quite distant from our end, but it must have been an amazing game to play in when all four sides of the ground (well, three and a half…) joined in, something that happened a couple of times on the night – which is normally as rare as finding a four leaf clover. On the moon.

As the second half wore on, hopes of an equalizer began to diminish. Hatton and Jackson were still tearing Crawley apart on the right side when given the opportunity, but it looked as if sheer Crawley stubbornness would see them through. You began to wonder if Crawley might have nicked a second to take the game beyond the Dons. Tubbs had a chance blocked by the legs of Brown, yet although neither Crawley front man really impressed, the threat was still there.

Until fifteen minutes to go. The Dons had created a bit of pressure, and won a corner on the right. Toks whipped in the sort of ball we have sorely missed since the departure of Chris Hussey, a slip in the penalty are gave Sam Hatton a free header, and as you would expect from someone so consistent this season he made no mistake, burying his header into the slick turf and watching is skid up into the roof of the net. Bedlam inside Kingsmeadow, and finally Dons fans saw the tide had turned. There would only be one team that would win this one.

Crawley barely had time to catch breathe before it came. Less than three minutes had passed, a deep cross from Sammy Moore saw Kedwell lurking. With a Crawley man in front and another behind he looked second best to get anything on the ball. To actually guide the ball beyond Jordan in the Crawley goal looks an unlikely finish even watching it back on Youtube… in the flesh it was an almost superhuman piece of finishing. If the celebrations following the equaliser were impressive, these were a return to old fashioned just going mental. Like the good old days, grabbing the person next to you, whether you knew them or not, and ending up ten yards away when it all calmed down a few minutes later. Celebrations like that will probably land you a common assault charge in the street, on the terraces jubilation took hold…

One last big roar, as the final whistle blew. Evans skulked off, apparently storming out of the press conference when someone had the temerity to question his side – although, like his team, you can only presume he had no answers to it. Terry Brown stalked the pitch, beaming smile, showing how much it meant to him personally. The man of the moment, Kedwell, found a yellow shirt bearing his image in the penalty area, put it on, milked the applause, and was the last Dons player to leave the field. If anyone deserves the praise it was him.

We won’t win the League by winning games like these. It helps, and of course it falls under that mathematical conundrum of being a six pointer – Crawley lose the points, we gain them. The league will be won by winning games we should draw, and drawing games we should lose, in bread and butter fixtures like Sundays game at Kidderminster. Terry Brown said a couple of years ago (when referring to the BSS) that if you have twenty points on the board after ten games it’s a great springboard for promotion. Wimbledon currently have twenty-two…

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One thought on “AFC Wimbledon 2 Crawley Town 1

  1. Yojimbo says:

    A lovely piece, catches the emotions beautifully! Thanks anon don!

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